Copenhagen’s COP-15 conference in December went down as a dud for many who wanted hard emissions reduction targets to emerge. To COP-15’s discontents, the fact that China did not commit to concrete cuts was a failure.
But a couple of months into 2010, none other than COP-15’s Danish hosts and the Chinese policymakers who might be pivotal to climate change mitigation are teaming up.
You see, China’s promise at COP-15 was to reduce carbon intensity, which refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted with every unit of economic growth. The goal is to decouple CO2 from GDP in the next few years.
So the Sino-Danish Renewable Energy Development Program, which launched on February 10, will establish a clean energy research center with both countries’ top power minds focused on greening China’s growth through energy efficiency and new renewable resources.
"The project is set to combine the advantages of the two countries and promote renewable energy development fast and well in China," Danish Minister of Climate Change and Energy Lykke Friis said.
Denmark’s government is putting $18.27 million (100 million Danish kroner) into the program, which will be based in Beijing.
The Danish National Energy Administration had already released a wind-focused report in 2009 on ways in which China can harness the breeze to fight climate change, and Danish wind turbine titan Vestas Wind Systems has been active in the Middle Kingdom for years.
As Vestas China President Jens Tommerup told the New York Times, "Nobody has ever seen such fast development in a wind market," as we’ve seen in China recently.
Denmark’s cooperation with China is obviously an industrial move as much as it is an environmentally-conscious one. China is moving up from a 7.5% clean energy contribution to national energy capacity. And though Denmark isn’t anywhere near as big as China, the Scandinavian country punches above its weight with technical know-how and market experience.
The Sino-Danish Renewable Energy Development Program will run through 2013, and its effects are sure to be felt in China and Denmark long after the initial term is up.